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Indri Debono was the first white man in recorded history to have discovered the fountainhead - the source of the Nile! He never bothered to record this exceptional discovery and we only know of it through the memoirs of Speke; the man credited with the feat. In 1862 Indri reached the Ripon and Murchison Falls, the outlets of Lake Victoria. Indri Debono (or Andrea) was from Malta.
Are you sure about this? Rippon Falls used to be the outlet of the Nile from Lake Victoria, before it was drowned out by the Owen Falls Dam, but Murchison Falls isn't - it's on the White Nile but several hundred miles further downstream. SidneyStratton#
This may be a reference to Andrea Debono. He apparently came near to Lake Albert but never found Victoria. --Richard Clegg 19:12, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Can anybody add a section on Speke's racial theories? I don't know anything about them, although I expect they may be unsavory, but they seem to have had an influence on colonial governance policies and thus modern events (e.g. genocide in Rwanda) and are probably worth discussing. 126.96.36.199 18:04, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
Speke apparently made his racial observations in his 1863 account, Journal Of The Discovery Of The Source Of The Nile. Speke's views are mentioned on this Wikipedia page about 'Hamitic Myth', having apparently been cited by Philip Gourevitch in his 1999 book on the Rwandan Genocide (We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families). According to Gourevitch:
Few living Rwandans have heard of John Hanning Speke, but most know the essence of his wild fantasy—that the Africans who best resembled the tribes of Europe were inherently endowed with mastery—and whether they accept or reject it, few Rwandans would deny that the Hamitic myth is one of the essential ideas by which they understand who they are in the world.
Among British explorers, Speke is regarded as an enigmatic figure (most of his personal papers were burned, in fact), and Speke himself, dead at 37, did not participate in colonization. Nor did Speke invent "Hamitic theory"; at best, his journals of discovery popularized racist concepts already in circulation. Reviewing the Gourevitch book, playwright Wole Soyinka questions whether the Speke explanation truly satisfies an inquiry into why later genocides occurred. Is it possible that Speke is unfairly scapegoated for the prejudicial practices of later colonists, notably those of the Germans (who exploited Tutsi dominance after 1885) and the Belgians (who undertook direct empire after 1918 in what is present-day Rwanda and Burundi)? Speke's discovery journals enjoyed early translations into German (Die Entdeckung der Nilquellen, Leipzig, 1864) and French (Les Sources du Nil, Paris, 1864). Were those translations at the root of the problem? — Sandover 23:41, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
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